More often that not, the thirst for anything Michael Jackson-related has increased exponentially after his passing. Even hardcore fans who know everything there is to know seem to have broken down and accumulated more Michael Jackson memorabilia – well, at least the many hardcore fans that I know are doing that.
As for me, I have been redirecting my energy toward understanding. I guess it’s a typical nerd-like way of dealing with such a situation. I’m especially struggling to understand what kind of world we live in that allows for talent to be perverted in such a way that a young black child who sang with such soul and possessed such talent turned into a broken man with white skin, a reconstructed face, and the inability to produce music as touching as his talent should have allowed him to.
So when I saw the title of this DVD, I decided to pick it up. After all, we cannot isolate Michael Jackson from his social environment; and so, to understand what happened to him, one needs to understand the times during which he lived.
Unfortunately, the title doesn’t reflect the content of the DVD. I should have done my homework better rather than simply snap it up. I was expecting a DVD centred on the life of Michael Jackson within the context of the times in which he lived. Rather, this DVD (running time: 79 minutes) is about Michael Jackson’s passing; stripped down to the basic events, it traces the timeline from the fateful 911 phone call made by Jackson’s bodyguard to the memorial service, then traces some of the moments in his life that, according to the producers, contributed to his demise. Even the presentation is stripped to the essentials — no inside leaflet, no extra features, just the footage.
The memorial service isn’t included in its entirety; rather, it too has been stripped down to its most important events, including the Berry Gordy speech, putting it in context (when Berry Gordy mentions the 25th anniversary moonwalk Michael Jackson performed live, the speech pauses for a few seconds while the clip is played, something that did not happen at the memorial), Smokey Robinson reading the letter from Nelson Mandela, Brooke Shields’ speech, Ervin “Magic” Johnson’s speech, Stevie Wonder’s heartfelt, inspirational, and touching short speech and his performance of “Never Dreamed You'd Leave in Summer,” the speech of Reverend Al Sharpton, Usher’s performance of Michael Jackson’s “Gone too Soon,” Jermaine and Marlon Jackson’s speeches, as well as the unplanned yet touching tribute Paris Katherine Jackson gave her father. It also includes interviews with fans who were at the memorial service as they left the Kodak Center afterward.